Now in the modern days, the phrase "lets settle this like men" would imply a fist fight. Yet as little as 200 years ago, "settling it like men" would either involve swords or pistols; the fist was the tool of the peasants and the lower class. When and how did it become socially unacceptable to use weapons to 'settle' accounts?

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    Related: history.stackexchange.com/q/9361/961
    – Luke_0
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 22:31
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    The Marquis of Queensbury can accept responsibility for moving fists from the peasant domain to polite society. Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 0:30
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    @PieterGeerkens - I think you mean the Marquess of Queensberry? Same rank; British version.
    – MT_Head
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 2:45
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    @PieterGeerkens - Sorry to be That Guy, but I was just reading about him (the Marquess, not That Guy) and couldn't resist. The 9th Marquess seems to have been a real piece of work - hounded Oscar Wilde to his downfall; apparently syphilitic himself; really, really unfortunate in his relationships with his sons. If it weren't for the boxing and the atheism, I don't think I'd have a single good word to say about him.
    – MT_Head
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 4:05
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    @PurplePilot source? sounds interesting if true Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


France seems to hung on to the tradition longer than other places. It was still occurring in France with regularity before ww1. Perhaps it the slaughter of ww1 brought about the sharp decline after the war.

Georges Clemenceau french leader during war fought duels 1892,duelled the author and Boulangist Paul Déroulède with pistols.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duel#Decline The last duel in France took place in 1967 when Gaston Defferre insulted René Ribière (fr) at the French parliament and was subsequently challenged to a duel fought with swords.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famous_duels#French_duels February 1897: Marcel Proust fought journalist Jean Lorrain, after Lorrain published an excoriating review of Proust's first book "Pleasures and Days" and hinted that Proust was having an affair with Madame Alphonse Daudet's son, Lucien.

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    It's interesting to note that at the Height of the French duelling craze in the 17th century over 10000 people are estimated to have been killed - many as double or triple kills (Source - SPADA 2: Anthology of Swordsmanship) Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 11:14

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